The estimated 30 million Christians in Northern Nigeria who form the largest minority in a predominantly Muslim environment have for decades, suffered marginalization and discrimination as well as targeted violence especially in the hands of organized mob violence and violent groups such as Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen.
These killings particularly the most recent ones that took place in the months of December 2017 and January 2018 in States of Benue, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa and Southern Kaduna prompted a national investigation by our organization. In the course of our investigation, various reports on the killing of Christians in Northern issued by reputable local and int’l groups including those perpetrated by Boko Haram between 2009 and 2014 were considered.
The investigation identified three bodies responsible for killing of defenseless and unprotected Christian population in Nigeria or any part thereof. They are (1) terror Fulani Herdsmen, (2) Boko Haram and (3) the central Government of Nigeria through its security forces particularly the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigeria Police Force. The killings by the Nigeria Police Force are custodial deaths arising from racial profiling and unprofessional crime detection and criminal investigation management.
Strong pieces of evidence also indicate that Christians in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast are highly intolerant of alternative religions in the Zone particularly members and institutions of traditional religions. Intersociety condemns in strongest term all forms of Christian violence against traditional religionists and their sacred places of worship and symbols.
Fanatical Christians including preachers are found to be visiting unprovoked violence or attacks on traditional religionists and their sacred places of worship. Using midnight crusades, Christian fanatics and their radical preachers locate and storm sacred places of traditional religionists and set ablaze or destroy their sacred places of worship, and their religious symbols and artifacts.
Totality of these is a clear breach or violation of Section 10 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which forbids the Federal Government or any State Government from adopting any religion as a State religion and Section 38 of the same Constitution which affirms the fundamental human right to freedom of religion and worship in Nigeria or any part thereof.
In coming days, the findings of our national investigation on killing of Christians and destruction of their churches or sacred places of worship in Nigeria particularly in Northern Nigeria shall officially be communicated to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for urgent and holistic attention or actions.
Failure of Mr. President to act or holistically redress the national tragedy shall be seen not only as a fundamental breach of the Constitution but also a serious breach of the Principle of Complementarity under the int’l law; by failing in its jurisdiction and the primary obligation to investigate, punish, and prevent genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes under int’l law including ICC Statute
In the eyes of local and int’l laws, it will also amount to official cementation, aiding and abetting of killing of Christians in Nigeria through a national policy of Cattletocracy or State aided Agro-Jihadist widespread violence against Christian population particularly in Northern Nigeria.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]
Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Email: [email protected]